CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Thanksgiving is a special holiday that brings family and friends together, but it also can bring some hazards for pets. 

While it’s tempting to include your pets in the Thanksgiving feast, many aspects of the holiday can put pets in danger. Fatty foods are hard for animals to digest, and poultry bones can damage their digestive tract. 

The American Veterinary Medical Association provided the following tips to keep your pets safe and healthy during the holiday:

  • Keep the feast on the table: Eating turkey or turkey skin can cause a life-threatening condition in pets known as pancreatitis. Fatty foods are hard for animals to digest, and many foods that are healthy for humans are poisonous to pets, such as onions, raisins, and grapes.
  • No pie or other desserts for your pet: Chocolate can be harmful to pets, even though many dogs find it tempting and will find it and eat it. The artificial sweetener xylitol is commonly used in gum and sugar-free baked goods and can be deadly if swallowed by dogs or cats.
  • Yeast dough can cause problems for pets: These problems can include painful gas and potentially dangerous bloating.
  • Put the trash away where your pet can’t find it: A turkey carcass that is sitting out on the table, or left in a trash container that is open or easily opened, could be deadly to your pet. Get rid of turkey carcasses, bones, scraps, and anything used to wrap or tie the meat, such as strings, bags, and packaging, in a covered, tightly secured trash bag placed in a closed trash container outdoors.
  • Be careful with decorative plants: Some flowers and festive plants can be toxic to pets, such as amaryllis, baby’s breath, sweet William, some ferns, hydrangeas, and more.

If you believe that your pet has been poisoned or has eaten something that they shouldn’t have, immediately call your vet or local veterinary emergency clinic. You also can call the ASPCA Poison Control Center at 1-888-426-4435 or the Pet Poison Helpline at 1-855-764-7661; note that a fee may apply. 

Visitors can upset your pet

Some pets are shy or excitable around new people or in crowds, and Thanksgiving often means many visitors and higher-than-usual noise and activity levels. If you know your dog or cat is nervous when people come to visit, put them in another room or a crate with a favorite toy. If your pet is particularly upset by houseguests, talk to your veterinarian about possible solutions to this common problem.

If any of your guests have weakened immune systems, make sure they’re aware of the pets in your home so they can take extra precautions to protect themselves. If you have exotic pets, some people are uncomfortable around them, and these pets may be more easily stressed by the festivities.

Watch the exits

Even if your pet is comfortable around your guests, make sure that you watch them closely, especially when people are entering or leaving your home.

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